Mount Forest man convicted of arson, weapon offences following fire in home

Rodney Grubb found guilty on arson charge, two weapons-related offences; judge acquits on another count of arson

GUELPH – Following a four-day, judge-alone trial in Guelph Superior Court before Justice Cynthia Petersen, Rodney Grubb has been found guilty on one arson charge and two weapons-related charges.

He was acquitted on another count of arson.

The arson- and weapons-related charges resulted from a fire Grubb deliberately set in the basement unit of his North Water Street West home in Mount Forest in September 2021.

The 47-year-old pleaded not guilty last December in Guelph court to the arson offences, as well as unauthorized possession of homemade nunchucks and violating a 2014 court order not to possess weapons.

Witnesses called to the stand by Crown prosecutor Shane Wright included volunteer firefighters from Wellington North Fire Service, Wellington OPP officers, a doctor, a fire investigator and a family member of an upstairs tenant at Grubb’s home.

Grubb, who was represented by defence lawyer Gerald Punnett, did not testify in his trial.

Presenting her ruling on Feb. 6, Justice Petersen found “overwhelming evidence” supporting accusations that Grubb deliberately lit a pile of clothing on fire with a burning candle.

The Crown persuaded the judge that Grubb not only intended to light the fire, but did so knowing it would cause damage to the home, with the potential for someone to be in it.

However, Wright failed to prove that the fire threatened the health of four people, including upstairs tenants.

“There is therefore no proof that the fire started by Mr. Grubb seriously threatened the health of anyone other than himself,” Petersen said, acquitting him of one of the two arson charges.

When Wellington OPP detectives executed a warrant and searched Grubb’s home with a fire investigator the day after the fire in 2021, homemade nunchucks were found in his basement unit.

The judge ruled Grubb was guilty of possessing a prohibited weapon, and guilty of violating a previous court order prohibiting Grubb from having weapons.

A sentencing decision by Justice Petersen isn’t expected before the end of April, and lawyers have yet to make sentencing recommendations.